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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 1 Issue 9
July, 2002

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

=> Important News and Useful Links - What Medical Schools look for... from the 2002 National Advisors Meeting

=> Dates and Reminders - Financial Aid Link and Important AMCAS and AACOMAS News for Class of 2003 Applicants

=> Important People, Schools and Programs - Impact of Extended Time for Learning-Disabled and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder MCAT Takers

=> Success Story of the Month - The Medical Scientist Training Program Route and Physician Assistant applicant will go to Yale!

=> Question of the Month - How do you deal with stress?

=> Focus on a Health Profession - Naturopathic Medicine

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Congratulations to the Class of 2001 advised by Dr. Lewis! We had 94% acceptance for our premedical applicants all over the U.S.! See our website, http://www.lewisassoc.com/, for the Class of 2002 Progress Report.

Happy 4th of July! Hope some of you have a vacation breaksometime this summer.

If you want to change your career or reach your career goal, but do not know how to begin or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates can implement strategies that will change your life. Read about it in our newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started!

Developing YOU to your potential is our goal, and people are our "most important product". Dr. Cynthia Lewis has been advising Pre-health students with an overall acceptance rate of 85% since 1985.Lewis Associates was launched in 1998 to provide long term, personalized advising services to students across North America, specializing in Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Dentistry, Physician Assistant and Veterinary Medicine. Our success is real. You may be like our Advisees---highly motivated and intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis is a trained biologist, having taught and directed her own research programs for many years at two universities. She received two postdoctoral fellowships (one at NIH) and received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. She teaches Professionalism, Leadership and Quality, and sets high standards for her Advisees.



n e w s a n d l i n k s

N E W S :

What Medical Schools Look for

Dr. Robert F. Sabalis, Associate Vice President, Student Programs, Association of American Medical Colleges, gave the Keynote address at the June 24-28 National Association for the Advisors for the Health Professions meeting in Las Vegas. Here are the 10 items he indicated that medical schools look for:

(1) Persistence after failure
(2) Toleration of stress
(3) Service orientation
(4) Self-initiation
(5) Accountable
(6) Self-aware
(7) Self-reflective
(8) Intellectually capable
(9) Will follow /locate knowledge
(10) Knowledge of one's boundaries

L I N K S : Useful Link of the Month

A searchable database was recently added to the Student Hub of the Association of American Medical Colleges to assist students in identifying financial aid forms required by each US medical school.



d a t e s

Important AMCAS, AACOMAS News for Class of 2003 Applicants

AACOMAS update
The status check function is now available to see what college transcripts are received and give dates of when your submitted AACOMAS application was sent to each school you have requested. Access to your biographical profile online and addition of a print button will begin via the status check function by the "end of July". Our first submitted applicants are now getting requests for secondaries!

AMCAS update
The first batch of verified applications will be processed to medical schools beginning July 8, 2002. In order to determine your verification date, you may need to call AMCAS directly: 202 828 0600; this date may be indicated on your processed application.

Secondary Applications
Most secondary (supplemental) applications are now online.

New GRE coming in October, 2002
As of October 1, 2002, the General test will be composed of verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections. The verbal and quantitative sections will be unchanged from their present format. The analytical writing section will be identical to the stand-alone test GRE call the 'Writing Assessment' that was introduced in October 1999. The current analytical section will no longer be part of the General Test.



p e o p l e & s c h o o l s

Impact of Extended Time for Learning-Disabled and Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder MCAT Takers

At the NAAHP meeting in Las Vegas last week, Dr. Ellen Julian, Director of the MCAT and Dr. Anthony Hilger, University of North Carolina, presented the first report from a longer study of the impact of extended time for disabled MCAT takers. They will publish this report later this year and in the future focus on how accommodations affects admissions outcomes.

Students with learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who request testing accommodations on the MCAT most commonly receive extended time. Their score reports are flagged with an asterisk when sent to medical school admissions offices. Some schools choose not to receive the flag information. How do test scores and GPAS of students with LD/ADHD compare with those who have flagged scores for other reasons and students with standard scores? Are students with LD/ADHD and other students with flagged MCAT scores held to the same standard of admission as others? This study analyzes 7 years of data, including MCAT scores, undergraduate GPAs, race and gender of students with LD/ADHD who used extended time on the MCAT and compares this data to that of all other students who took the test under standard conditions between 1994 and 2000.

In 1998, the eligibility criteria for LD/ADHD changed significantly, so early data may not reflect current outcomes. The entire population of test takers includes about 1300 with LD, 400 with ADHD and 50 with both. Most common accommodations include time and a half or double time in a separate room with a proctor. Other common accommodations include a special seat, unspecified extra time, breaks between sessions (not flagged), restroom breaks, transcriber and a reader.

Results: The average increase of total scores (VR, PS and BS) for those who first took the MCAT under standard conditions, then a second time with accommodations is: ADHD 6.5 points, LD 6 points and LD/ADHD 6 points. The VR section had the most gain of 2.1 points and on average test takers gained 2 points per section.



s u c c e s s s t o r i e s

S H A N O N   H E A T O N : Accepted to Yale Physician Assistant Program

K I S A N I   O G W A R O : Entering Medical Scientist Training Program after NIH

Shanon Heaton is accepted to her first choice Physician Assistant Program -- read below:

06.24.02 "Hi Dr. Lewis, I am doing well. Joe and I found an apartment on campus in a really neat area (so I hear since I haven't seen it). I am so lucky to have the resources I have! Scott is able to tell me what areas to live and tons of cool Yale info! I am getting really excited for this next chapter in my life. I found out Friday that I will be receiving a $16,000 scholarship per year from Yale. That makes things seem a little less stressful! I am so thankful how well things are going!"


Kisani Ogwaro entering Medical Scientist Training Program after NIH

I have known Kisani now for seven years! I recruited her into my Health Careers Opportunity Program and then she joined CUHRE in 1997 when it was formed. Kisani, which means "kindness," was born in Kisumu, Kenya, near Lake Victoria to an American mother who taught at a primary school and a Ugandan father who was completing his doctorate in entomology. When Kisani was a young child, she says, "While we were walking along the shore, my father found a human skull and bones inside a cave. Later, I learned that the oldest human remains had been found near where I lived. I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist and would spend my time digging in our backyard. In second grade, my father substituted for my class and asked all the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. I told my father that I wanted to be a scientist who does research to help doctors. My favorite game as a child was Clue, and now I enjoy surfing the Grateful Med. I feel like I haven't changed much. When I see a topic, I am given a clue to something greater that I want to search. Research is the never-ending story, once the 'end' is reached, it's really only the beginning. I fell in love with research early in my childhood."

From an early age science and math have been passions for Kisani. Her mother taught Kisani to read and to love reading at an early age. She says, "When I was four, I tried to ride my mother's motorcycle. I didn't get very far before the motorbike fell on my right leg, breaking it. I had to be driven on bumpy roads all the way to the hospital, each bump or pothole made me cry out in pain. I remember thinking that I wanted to try putting a cast on someone. The same year that I broke my leg, one of my playmates died of cholera, just six hours after we had been playing together. She had seemed well that day, but at night she became ill, and by the time she got to the hospital it was too late. I'm told that it was a tragedy that affected the entire village. I kept asking for my friend, unable to believe I would never see her again. I now know that basic sanitary habits prevent the spread of cholera and might have prevented my friend from dying. I did contract malaria right before my birthday in 4th grade and felt so horrible, I forgot how it was not to be sick; I had the revelation that I had taken my health for granted. I vowed that if I got better, I would do something to fight against sickness. Knowing how easy it had been for me to get sick, I promised myself that I would learn more about the etiology of sickness in order to avoid it as best I could." In 1982, the family moved to Uganda on the western shore of Lake Victoria when Idi Amin was overthrown.

Her parents wished to help her father's native country, Uganda, to recover. Her father taught at Mackerere University and Kisani's paternal grandmother lived with them. Kisani completed 4th grade in Uganda. Beginning in second grade, French was added to Swahili and English lessons. She continued learning French in U.S. schools for six more years. Her grandmother died of diabetes when Kisani was age 7. Kisani says, "Adult-onset diabetes is common in my family; my uncle has it now. My parents are on a diet recommended to diabetics for fear of my father contracting it. But, my family history is not the prime reason I am interested in diabetes. Diabetes Mellitus disrupts major biochemical processes; it can bring many complications including kidney disease, blindness, neuropathy, and atherosclerosis. Studying this disease can, therefore, help patients afflicted with these complications as well as healthy people who want to know how to provide their body with appropriate nutrients."

Kisani says, "Unfortunately, the peace after Amin's rule was short-lived. Civil war broke out again and soldiers wrecked havoc on the streets. Anticipating the possibility of rape, my hair was shaved off to make me look like a boy, and we had an emergency plan to send my older sister into the attic if ever the soldiers drew near our house. When they pulled into our driveway, my dad and my sister hid in the attic, while I jumped up and down in fear and helplessness. Thankfully, the jeep full of soldiers reversed out of our driveway; I will never forget how relieved I was. Shortly after, my family left Uganda and moved to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. It is appropriate that Dar-es-Salaam means "harbor of peace"; that is exactly what it was for us. We lost all of our belongings due to the war, but we were happy because we were safe.

Our Ugandan friends had their houses looted by soldiers who pointed guns at their children's heads." At age 9, Kisani entered 5th grade in the International School of Tanganyika, Tanzania, where courses were taught in Swahili. They moved to California in 1987 because her mother was a U.S. Citizen. Kisani says, "When I started sixth grade in Davis, California, I suffered 'culture shock.' A boy in my class called me a 'nigger.' I had heard about slavery, and knew of the problem of racism in America, but it was not until college that I was thoroughly taught about the history of Black people." Kisani began college at age 16; her mother returned to attend college the same year to earn a Master's degree in Speech Therapy. Kisani says she chose to live in the American South for a year of college. "To observe the African's situation in a place where people were not scared to admit they did not like you. Ready to observe when I got off the plane in Nashville's busy airport, I counted six Africans, three of whom worked there. It was easy for the representatives from Fisk University to spot me, and we sat together waiting for other students to join us. Traveling from the airport was like going from white to black. One side of the town was all white and the other, all black.

I came to Nashville to attend the Pre-Medical Summer Institute offered by Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities funded by the Minority Medical Education Program and the United Negro College Fund. I decided to stay for a year at Fisk, the first university founded for African-Americans, in order to attend a school that is taught from the Black person's perspective, including the study of the African people as part of the core curriculum."

While at Fisk University, Kisani shadowed a Psychiatrist who worked in the VA Hospital's Substance Abuse Program. She says, "I got to see him conduct interviews to determine if patients had a drug problem, and I got to take a patient history for the first time. I also sat in on meetings where doctors, physician assistants, occupational therapists, counselors, and chaplains talked about patients, and did exit interviews to determine if they had succeeded in rehabilitating patients who graduated from the program. At these meetings, I learned that health care involves the work of many people, not just doctors.

Each of the people involved with a patient brought new insights into what the patient needed in order to recover from their dependency. Sometimes, the patient would confide in one person and not another. It was exciting to see first-hand the problem solving and 'detective' work that medicine involves." In the summer of 1997, Kisani did an REU research program at the University of Arkansas on Acylation of Gramicidin to determine how conformation changes affect its ion channel functions. She says, "My experience at the University of Arkansas assured me that I want my future to include research." Kisani says, "I want to study HIV because of my interest in the immune system and because of the great number of people infected in Africa. I am dismayed that many medical providers have left due to the risk of getting infected with HIV. As a doctor, I don't want to be so scared of the disease that I am unwilling to provide medical care to people who need it. Knowledge of the mechanism of disease will alleviate the fear of not being able to cure it. That is why I want to earn my Ph.D. in immunology emphasizing the treatment of AIDS. My cousin and my uncle among others of my extended family in Africa have died due to AIDS."

Kisani did research in immunology as an undergraduate, was accepted to Medical Scientist Training Programs at Baylor and the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2000 and deferred for two years to take a Post baccalaureate Research Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Dr. Anthony Faucci's AIDS laboratory. She has just finished this Fellowship and will enter the MSTP, a fully funded 8 years of MD and doctoral training in Birmingham. Kisani is multicultural and multilingual and a particularly gifted student in math and sciences, with a strong intellect and curiosity. She was an Enrichment Instructor and leader in CUHRE. She has a delightful positive outlook and a strong work ethic. In her words is a vision of her future after completing her M.D. Ph.D: "Scientists used the active chemical in the Mexican yam to develop modern forms of birth control; they knew where to look because of traditional medicinal practices that were used by South American women. People in developing countries have rainforests and jungles, but are lacking in modern medical care. Many people rely on and even prefer traditional healing to modern techniques. My dream is to combine the two. After I get my medical degree, I want to meet with traditional healers so that we can teach each other. Maybe I would give them a better understanding of the etiology of disease; for example, many people think that epilepsy is a spiritual curse and do not understand that it has a physical basis. Then, maybe with my understanding of modern drugs that can help to control epilepsy, I could find similar natural products that are readily available to people in developing countries. The traditional healers could then, in turn, teach me by showing me plants that they give to patients. Then, I could analyze the physiologic action of the plants and could discover something that would be of help to 'modern' doctors. Well, at least that's the way my dream plays out; we'll just have to wait and see how my real life turns out."



q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h

How do you deal with stress?

Lynne sat for months watching TV reruns after she was laid off from her job. How could they do that after 17 years of loyal service? Lynne struggled with her feelings of failure and embarrassment about her unemployment. Her childhood asthma attacks returned and she stopped exercising. After 9 months, numerous doctor appointments and 23 added pounds, she begrudgingly accepted a position with the county as a clerical assistant. Joanne wasn't happy about being laid off, but decided to channel her energies into exploring other opportunities. She put out feelers for job opportunities to her many friends and acquaintances. She used her free time to clean out her closets, reorganize her priorities, and explore new job possibilities. She could see that being laid off was a sign that she was ready for something new. She decided to head for Phoenix where she found work as an assistant director for an agency that prepares women over 40 to re-enter the job market. How is it that two people faced with the same stressful event could react so differently? Why do some people crack under stress and others maintain their health and even thrive.

After studying people who withstood a lot of stress without suffering significant illness, psychologists Susan Kobasa and Salvatore Maadi suggested that the key to optimal health may be "hardiness"-their term for the ability to cope. Hardy people like Joanne view life's stresses in ways that evoke minimal "stress response". Statistics show that hardy people stay healthier than their "soft" counterparts even when they have stronger family histories of disease. What do these hardy individuals have in common? Simply this: They feel in control of their lives; they are committed to themselves and to others; and they perceive stressful life events as challenges, instead of problems. A review of 6 major heart studies supports the hardiness theory. William Osler, MD, a pioneer of modern medicine, said, "It is much more important to know what sort of patient has the disease than what sort of disease the patient has." The most important step toward becoming hardier and healthier, is to develop a repertoire of successful coping mechanisms. While most conceive of coping as the ability to overcome major problems and difficulties, it may be more helpful to see coping as Lazarus at UC Berkeley does: "How we face life's little challenges." Your seven year old spills his juice, you can't find the car keys and your husband announces his mother is coming to dinner. While these are not major life events, Lazarus' studies show that reactions to minor hassles may be the best predictors of illness. Coping is often the matter of putting small problems in perspective, learning to "roll with the punches and bend with the breeze."

Major stress may require "active coping." Try these techniques:

* Information search - In many situations, lack of knowledge is the main source of distress. When faced with any crisis, get adequate and accurate information as soon as possible.

* Positive reappraisal - Try to make the best of bad situations. People who cope effectively look back on stressful times and say, "I'm a better person because of that-I changed and grew." When times are tough, this approach can encourage feelings of pride and satisfaction, rather than more harmful emotions such as anger and depression.

* Problem-solving - Confront the situation head-on. Devise a plan of action and follow it step by step.

From: Live Well-Be Well, 3/02 Kaiser Permanente Preventive Medicine

We will feature an important question each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to imaclewis@lewisassoc.com



h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n

Naturopathic Medicine

Websites: www.aanmc.org , www.naturopathic.org and www.cnme.org

There are four schools of Naturopathic Medicine in the US, each with a four-year doctoral level program. Upon completion, one must pass Board Exams I and II. The NIH National enter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine now supports several million dollars of research in this area. The average GPAs of matriculates are: overall GPA 3.3 and science GPA 3.34; 74% are female. Fourteen states currently license Naturopathic Physicians; California and Florida may be added soon.

lewis associates advising services

Lewis Associates specializes in personal, effective and professional premedical advising and placement for traditional and non-traditional applicants. Often, non-traditional students are older than 21 years of age, career changers, international applicants or second-round applicants for admission to health professions school.

Lewis Associates' services meet the needs of all types of students from pre-applicants to applicants, including hourly advising support for specific needs. Click here.


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

If this is how YOU feel, then, maybe Lewis Associates is the place for you. Lewis Associates provides Mentoring and Coaching through the rigorous and often circuitous pre-health preparation and application process. Other consultants may support programs like Law and Business or graduate school -- not Lewis Associates. We are the experts in Health Professions based on 23 years of a successful track record.

Call or email today to set your first appointment!

805.226.9669 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

Copyright 2009, Lewis Associates. All rights reserved. Please do not repost on any website without direct permission from Lewis Associates.

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